Mercedes seeks duty cut on EVs

Reduction in import levy in India will enable viable pricing: vice-president Jopp
Mercedes Benz does not see itself producing electric vehicles (EVs) in India at the moment due to limited potential, combined with high investments, said a senior company official. To grow the market for such vehicles in the country, the German luxury carmaker has sought a reduction in duties for import of EVs to enable viable pricing, said Michael Jopp, vice president, sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz India.
“…because of the limited potential, right now we do not see ourselves in a position to set up EV production locally in India. The required investment is extremely high not only in technology but also in manufacturing facility, local manufacturing of battery, because it is very different from what we do now,” he said in response to to a query.
Need for ‘business case’
He, however, added that the carmaker is willing to investigate and invest “once we see a business case.”
Therefore, the company continues to request a cut in import duties for EV for a “viable business [and] viable price for the consumers.”
Mr. Jopp said that from Mercedes’s perspective, it doesn’t make sense to import and sell battery-driven cars at very high costs.
“… reception then will be very limited. We feel pricing must be competitive…If the government doesn’t agree, then the sales volume will remain limited for quite some time,” he said.
Currently, CBU (completely built units) cars, whose value is more than $40,000, attracts an import duty of 100%, while CKD (completely knocked down) units containing engine or gearbox or transmission mechanism in pre-assembled form but not mounted on a chassis or a body assembly attracts a duty of 30%.
Mercedes, which on Thursday unveiled an updated version of its C-Class sedan in the country priced between Rs. 40 lakh and Rs. 48.5 lakh (ex-showroom), believes there is a need for a clear policy on EVs in India.
“We are eagerly awaiting that [policy] so that we can finally come to know the framework under which the government would be working,” said Mr. Jopp
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